Emory University Hospital unveils COVID-19 ‘Memory Heart’ sculpture

Emory University Hospital Midtown announced on Monday that a public art sculpture known as the “Memory Heart” now stands in the health care center’s Orr building courtyard. The heart-shaped sculpture serves to memorialize those lost to COVID-19, to honor those who survived the virus and to celebrate health care heroes who have combated the coronavirus. In tribute to all of those affected by the pandemic, the sculpture was painted a peaceful blue.

“The ‘Memory Heart’ sculpture honors the resilience, restoration, rebirth and remembrance of those impacted by the pandemic, and it is a time in our lives we will never forget,” Nicole Franks, MD, chief quality officer at Emory University Hospital Midtown and professor of emergency medicine at Emory, said in a press release. “Those four words are inscribed at the base of the sculpture so we will always remember the difficult days, which turned into months and then years of facing a new normal.”

Emory University Hospital Midtown care team members first proposed ideas for a public piece of artwork on the hospital campus back in 2021. Team members voted on designs offered by a number of different artists, ultimately choosing Jessica Bell and Scott Schubin to craft the piece. The steel sculpture is 10 feet tall and six feet wide, and it rotates with “a slight touch or breeze.” Benches surround the sculpture in order to offer passers by an opportunity to rest and reflect on the “Memory Heart” tribute.

“As we look upon this ‘Memory Heart,’ we remember the many challenges of 2020 and beyond,” Bridget Piggue, PhD, director of spiritual health at Emory University Hospital Midtown, said in a press release. “We marvel at all we have endured and the ways we have risen. We renew our resolve to work for justice and equity, to strengthen our communities, to reach for the hope and restored health and safety — every patient, every time.”

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